I always try to keep up with adoption trends and general population feelings towards adoption and usually I turn to the internet to find out what way the pendulum is swinging. I realize that not everything can be gauged online, but it’s useful to read the current buzz. Generally, people tend to talk about negatives and personal pet peeves both online and off, so usually I filter everything through that lens. By the way – not just for adoption but in general – make it a point to also tell everyone what works. Give good reviews too, rather than just whining about the bad stuff. It will help others and might brighten your mood too. But we all learn from the bad stuff, and here is something that I would like everyone to take note of.
WE DON’T SELL BABIES HERE.
Yes, we charge fees. But the fees are not to purchase your child. You pay fees to provide services for the legal adoption of the child, such as the homestudy, counseling, matching, post-placement supervision, etc. I think that most people see adoption like a retail outlet, when the comparison should be more like services provided by a professional – doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. When you go to the doctor and he/she tells you that you have cancer, do you blame the doctor for your medical problem? When he/she tells you that you have a clean bill of health do you thank him/her for giving you that health? When your lawyer advises you to or not to pursue the case, do you blame him/her for the way the laws are written? When your accountant tells you that you don't have enough money for what you want or can’t claim that on the form because the IRS will audit you and take away more money, is your anger directed at the messenger? Sometimes, probably. When there is bad news we all look for someone to blame.
But the reality is you can’t purchase health, wealth or a for-sure win lawsuit. What you can do is purchase good or not so good financial advice, medical care or cutthroat legal expert representation. The same is true of adoption – it is a service, not a sale. Incidentally, if you have a baby biologically you aren’t paying for the baby either, but you do have to pay for your medical care, delivery services, insurance, etc. There are good adoption services and bad, ethical and unethical, cheap and not so cheap.
When I hear people say all agencies are just selling babies because the prices are outrageous I get really mad. Are there agencies that charge way too much, especially for your average middle income family? Of course, there are also attorneys and facilitators who do the same. But what you do not see is all of the background work we do before and after that baby joins your family. You don’t see what the law requires us to have as far as education and continuing education (that we pay for), the annual audits to maintain the license, additional paperwork requirements for interstate adoptions that we fulfill, the birth moms that we counsel and aid before a match is made, the advertisements we place nationwide to give both birth parents and adoptive parents the best chance of finding the match meant for them, the regulations we meet to compile a file and maintain it forever because adoption records aren’t destroyed. Oh, and other little things like paying the social workers, the secretary, keeping the lights on and phones ringing, preparing and mailing info packets, and networking with other professionals all in order to make sure you have the best adoption possible (not an exhaustive list, obviously).
So when you say that an agency charges too much so they must just be baby selling … take a step back. What you are really saying is my time is not worth it. My advanced degree and continuing education that I am required to maintain or lose my license, my time away from my children, my emotions and feelings that get caught up in your ups and downs during the adoption process as I try to support you. I am okay with you saying you can’t afford our fees – I have a budget too and I clip coupons. But don’t accuse me of baby selling, and be aware that what you are actually saying is my time, expertise and effort, and that of others in the agency, is not worth it. Because we don’t sell babies here.